NorthOne ensures customers come first and data stays safe with Nightfall
Industry: Financial Technology
HQ Location: New York City, NY
Blake Edwards, VP, Engineering
NorthOne Business Banking is changing the banking industry to give American small businesses, startups, and freelancers better access to financial services that saves them time and money while never having to visit a branch ever again. The API-based mobile banking platform offers what traditional banks can’t provide to these underserved groups, like providing all the financial tools they need to run their business in the palm of their hand and transparent fee structures. NorthOne also provides essential financial management tools for small business owners: cash flow reporting, in-app live chat and 24/7 customer support from real human beings, insights into business revenue and spending, a financial health checklist, an invoice maker, and integrations with payment processing apps like Quickbooks, Square, Stripe, Paypal, and Shopify.
VP of Engineering Blake Edwards helped build the NorthOne that launched the product in the summer of 2019. That team saw gaps in the fintech ecosystem that shut out U.S.-based small-business owners from the tools they needed most to manage and grow their businesses.
In the last year, NorthOne has grown to 50 employees and they’re poised for even bigger expansion. Their rapid growth introduced one main question: how would they keep up with the evolving demands of their SMB customers while prioritizing security within the organization? Their answer was the Nightfall platform, which is helping NorthOne secure their internal communications and collaboration on Slack and Jira as a data loss prevention (DLP) solution.
Prioritizing security while scaling quickly
Small businesses (defined as businesses with fewer than 500 employees) account for 99.7% of all business in the U.S. And yet, the traditional banking system fails to serve the needs of this essential sector. “We saw the opportunity for a technology solution to help small businesses get access to all of their banking services,” Blake says, “ including cards and ATM access so they can make cash deposits.”
NorthOne’s sharp focus on providing access to banking services for underserved entrepreneurs includes anyone who needs access to comprehensive banking: from self-employed landscapers and contractors to startups who lack access to venture capital financing.
This kind of innovation requires frequent collaboration and iteration. As Blake and his team worked on how to bring their vision into the real world, they found gaps within their own organization — how could they maintain rapid development and innovation without compromising security?
“We wanted to build trust and make business banking a place of safety and control for small businesses,” Blake says. “Small businesses are moving into a complex future, and there’s a lot of distrust of banks and traditional financing options. Internally, we’re moving quickly with hiring and tackling new challenges, so we needed a system that scales with us without having to compromise our pace of innovation and our metabolism for how we respond to our customer needs.”
“We’ve seen great success with Nightfall,” Blake says. “We’re able to use our existing communication channels and tooling to deliver fast response times and resolutions in real time for our customers, while still having the highest level of security and an effective safety net through our communication channels on Slack and Jira. This means we can keep everybody focused on the customer.”
“Nightfall’s automated bot taps directly into our existing communication channels and tooling. It provides a massive benefit to us. Now our developers can focus on delivering value — not only to our customers through NorthOne features, but also to our own internal stakeholders, like customer care.”
Making compliance and security easy
NorthOne faces challenges in their rapid expansion, including the transition to a fully remote workforce. The complexity of managing secure internal communications and collaboration is just another way COVID-19 is forcing companies like NorthOne to adopt more holistic security policies.
Nightfall helps Blake’s team create security policies right inside Slack and Jira. With Nightfall’s 100+ detectors including personally identifiable information (PII) like bank account and routing numbers, NorthOne can ensure customer data stays safe.
“Nightfall comes with detectors for the PII we’re interested in checking for,” Blake says. “This allows our customer care team to have instant communication in a secure and safe way with our developers and deliver our promise of real time banking to our customers through their mobile device. We don’t have to make any compromises around feature development and innovation.”
The company can keep all their data and processes secure and within the essential apps they use every day. Fast and easy installation meant the NorthOne DevOps team didn’t miss a beat while upgrading their security — which adds value every day for the team.
“We really like how direct, easy, and effectively native Nightfall is,” Blake says. “It was insanely easy to install. I think our security team spent less time installing Nightfall than it takes for an average training session. It was a massive time savings and exceeded my expectations.”
Overall Nightfall DLP for Slack and Jira is a win for NorthOne, from opening the lines of communication for the customer care team to providing quick implementations for the development team.
NorthOne relies on Nightfall’s robust feature set to keep their DLP processes simple, and to reduce response times for the customer care team. They no longer have to choose which resources to prioritize. Fast customer service, secure channels, ease of use — it’s all made possible with Nightfall.
“Nightfall comes pre-baked with a lot of the detectors and rules that we use and handle every single day. As a mobile first application that delivers financial services, security is a primary concern. We wanted to mitigate our biggest source of internal risk: our communication channels. Nightfall makes this possible.”
Innovating for long term success
With their DLP needs fulfilled, NorthOne can work toward changing the small business fintech landscape for the better. Long-term progress toward more fair and transparent banking services is an easier goal for NorthOne to reach now that they have Nightfall DLP for Slack and Jira handling their primary data exfiltration concerns.
“Nightfall’s automated system provides us with strong guardrails,” Blake says. “Our DLP needs are covered, so our developers can commit their mindshare to focus on delivering new features and solutions for our customers. That’s what really matters to us.”
NorthOne’s mission is to take that promise to their customers to heart. Putting customers first in that way is innovative, but there’s more to be done when fulfilling those promises.
“We’re the first ones through the door here,” Blake says. “We’re breaking new ground and trying things that nobody has done before. There are a lot of other people watching us, and some are waiting for us to fail. Yet one thing that we can all agree on is security. There’s a sense among technologists working in these innovative spaces that we’re all in this together. We all live and die by the security of our partners on top of our own security. That’s why I recommend Nightfall to others in the fintech space. For our cohorts and people working in our space, those recommendations hold a lot of weight as we’re trying to ensure the safest banking experience online.”
Customer care is built on this strong commitment to security. By implementing Nightfall, NorthOne is making a statement to their customers that their sensitive data will never be shared improperly. It’s one way they can back up their customer-centric values.
“Using Nightfall creates the kind of first class customer care we strive for,” Blake says. “It allows us to reduce risk and keep our team talking to each other and sharing information. People don’t have to be solely responsible for safety and security with Nightfall’s automated bot scanning our Slack and Jira instances. Our communications must be held to the highest bank-grade security standards.”
“We hope to have Nightfall everywhere in our organization eventually, allowing us to keep innovating while protecting our data,” adds Blake. This is where Nightfall’s developer platform comes in. With Nightfall’s APIs for sensitive data classification & protection, the NorthOne team has the power to add DLP functionality to any application, whether that be a third-party system like Intercom, or their own software, internal tools, and data infrastructure.
“Nightfall is very developer focused,” Blake says. “It’s easy for our security and DevOps teams to understand how the platform works, how to implement it, and how to set up the safety net for our employees with little back and forth.”
The overall savings in time, money, and bandwidth gives NorthOne the freedom they need to keep growing quickly and looking for new ways to improve banking resources for their SMB customers. NorthOne was built to push the boundaries of the financial services industry. Nightfall’s coverage of the DLP question removes barriers and allows NorthOne to pursue their original vision fearlessly.
“Nightfall has dramatically dropped the time that we spend developing and executing our security fundamentals, so we can think about higher order problems. It keeps us focused on what we really want to work on. We have a safety net to aggressively pursue whatever our customers need in real time.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Nightfall for Slack, the Atlassian suite, or our developer platform you can view our Guides to DLP on Slack and Atlassian or schedule a brief demo with our team below.
Nightfall is the industry’s first cloud-native data loss prevention solution. Designed to integrate seamlessly with a variety of corporate SaaS and IaaS platforms like Slack & AWS, Nightfall is a solution to data sprawl and the data visibility issues that come with rapid cloud migration. You can learn more about our platform by scheduling a demo below.